Sezione Storica – Fondo Cartografico Losardo – Sala X (Tavv. LVI – LVII)

  • L’Italie divisée en ses differens Etats (1812) (Hall X) (pl. LVI)
  • Parte inferiore de L’Italie (1812) (Hall X) (pl. LVII)

The two maps (530×400 mm), l’Italie divisée en ses differens Etats and Parte inferiore de L’Italie, are the work of Giovanni Antonio Rizzi Zannoni, astronomer and cartographer (Padua 1736-Naples 1814), the son of a well-known astronomer, Giorlamo. After having travelled in Italy and abroad (he also visited Turkey and Russia), he began his career as a cartographer in 1753 in Poland, where he was summoned by the King Augustus III: on this occasion he prepared a map of the whole territory of Poland, then he moved to Sweden and Denmark. Later he was taken prisoner by the French after the battle of Roßbach (5 December 1757) and lived for twenty years in Paris, where he drew a map of the kingdom of Naples, so that in 1772-1774 he held the office of hydrographer-engineer in Paris. After having returned in Padua in 1776, he engaged in the ambitious project of making a general map of Italy in 15 sheets through an astronomical-geodetic approach. Only the excellent Carta del Padovano co ‘ suoi fondamenti  (1780) was completed, because in the meantime Rizzi Zannoni was called back in Naples to revise its 1769 map. In Naples, where he arrived in 1781, he designed two separate works, a terrestrial map and a nautical map.  This ambitious work lasted for thirty years, giving birth to theAtlante Geografico del Regno di Napoli in 32 large sheets which was completed in 1812, two years before the death of Rizzi Zannoni.

The maps we have here are two complementary engravings, with marginal graduation, grid, various scales, correct orientation, perhaps derived from Atlas moderne, ou collection de cartes sur toutes les parties du globe terrestre par plusieurs auteurs, published in Paris between 1771 and 1783, and merged in Rizzi Zannoni’s Atlante.

In the upper right corner, the map of Northern Italy features  a nice cartouche with the place of publication, Paris; the division with coloured lines of the various states highlights the attention for the geography of Italy. The representation is quite accurate and faithful: the place names are not redundant and the morphology looks panoramic, almost three-dimensional. The segment of Southern Italy features various scales in the lower right corner. The improvement of the configuration of Sicily is particularly interesting, making Rizzi Zannoni’s map look better than those made by previous cartographers.